The Alliance is an initiative of Stop Foodborne Illness (STOP), leading food companies, and other organizations committed to the goal of preventing foodborne illness. For 25 years, STOP has communicated the compelling personal stories of individuals and families who have survived a serious foodborne illness or the death of a loved one.
The goal of communicating personal stories is to make clear why food safety must be a central value of the food system.
In a data driven world, giving a voice to those who have experienced the greatest impact of foodborne pathogens is a critical component in motivating people to understand that they literally hold lives in their hands and, through that understanding, reduce hazards and prevent illness.
Conveying compelling personal stories about the consequences of foodborne illness will help motivate people at all levels of industry to follow their established science-based protocol every day to make food safe.
The mission of the Alliance to Stop Foodborne Illness is to:
Stop Foodborne Illness is a national, non-profit public health organization dedicated to the prevention of illness and death from foodborne pathogens. It was founded in 1993 by individuals and families who had directly experienced serious illnesses and deaths associated with E. coli O157:H7 and other deadly bacteria. For more than 25 years, the organization has supported and represented illness victims, advanced public understanding of foodborne illness, and supported public policies and industry practices that strengthen prevention.
The founding and continuing mission of Stop Foodborne Illness is to make it unacceptable for anyone producing food for consumers to fail to do everything they reasonably can to prevent illness. The organization had a major impact on meat safety reforms in the 1990s. STOP later worked with other consumer groups and the food industry to achieve enactment of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011 (FSMA), which codified the principle of regulatory accountability for prevention.
Over the years, numerous positive interactions by STOP constituents with farmers, food companies, and industry associations on the human dimension of food safety have shown how the unique voice of those directly affected by foodborne illness can contribute to strengthening food safety culture and practices within food businesses, beyond the minimum required by regulations.
Even with this progress, successful implementation of the principle of prevention every day at every level of our large, complex and diverse food system remains a major food safety obstacle. Stop Foodborne Illness believes the motivation provided by its compelling personal stories and the same kind of multi-sector dialogue and collaboration that led to enactment of FSMA can contribute to meeting Today’s food safety challenges.
Through the Alliance to Stop Foodborne Illness, those directly affected by foodborne illness are provided the unique opportunity to work in innovative ways with the food industry to foster continued improvement in food safety. There is no other vehicle like it for enabling ongoing collaboration on food safety between food companies and consumers.
The Alliance is made possible by the shift that has occurred in recent years toward more cooperative approaches to food safety, as reflected in the consumer-industry coalitions and STOP’s ongoing successful engagement with food companies, large and small.
The change is grounded in strong alignment among many industry leaders and consumer and food safety advocates on the goal of preventing illness through best practices, continuous improvement and strong food safety cultures.
This makes it possible to create a space in which consumer advocates, food companies and others committed to the common goal of preventing foodborne illness can collaborate in new ways and, based on performance and consumer-industry dialogue, strengthen consumer confidence in how food safety is being managed.
STOP’s Board of Directors, in collaboration with member food companies are coordinating the Alliance by a Planning Committee that includes:
The specific activities of the Alliance are determined collaboratively by the STOP board and Alliance participants and will very likely evolve over time.
Current activities include:
The Alliance is currently comprised of for-profit, and non-profit organizations, each with their own purposes and accountabilities operating independently in their own spheres. Each member employs their own unique methods to strengthen food safety culture while coming together and pooling their efforts to advance shared food safety goals.
To make the Alliance successful, some key governance and operating principles are observed, including: